With the release of A Good Day to Die Hard, it’s easy to forget how varied and accomplished Bruce Willis’ career has been. He first came on to the small screen in the 80’s romantic comedy-drama Moonlighting, playing the role of a detective.
Die Hard was his first big break into cinema in 1988, and received glowing reviews. Die Hard has become the definitive action movie, and all other action films are compared against it. Using wit and a realistic character, Willis created a legend in John McClane, and few other films of this genre have ever measured up.
Die Hard 2 came two years later and Bruce Willis was cemented as a star of the all-American action circuit. What held him apart from other super agents, like bond is that whilst their tuxedoes are always perfectly ironed, McClane on the other hand is ever more beaten and bleeding, no wonder lifeinsurance.org.uk declared him uninsurable!
Then Pulp Fiction came along, and Willis was hailed as Hollywood gold once more. Pulp Fiction has been credited as a film to have launched and saved several careers, and Willis is no exception. By featuring so prominently in a strange, exciting new film – the likes that had never been made before – Willis showed he could be the all-action guy whilst working within a challenging environment.
1998 saw the release of the all-star packed Armageddon, and Willis was cast as the international hero who sacrificed himself to save the earth. Loved by some, hated by others, the American hero status cast upon Willis in the film is at the strongest of his career, and he plays the role of disgruntled, over-protective daddy well.
Sin City, the latest Die Hard instalments and a turn in the old-man shooters The Expendables has seen Willis attempt to reprise the action hero status, to some success. Sin City is considered by many to be a modern masterpiece, and the second instalment, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is likely to be another box office success.
While Looper has been critically appraised by many, it is for his ability to stay adaptable that Willis has remained loved. His role as Captain Sharp in Moonrise Kingdom reflects his versatility and a desire to work as an actor, rather than a caricature of himself.
Willis is set to feature in a variety of upcoming films in 2013 and beyond, including G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Kane and Lynch, and American Assassin.